Get Off This Avenue

I received a call from someone named Sara at a place called Avenue. She claims that they are doubling in size frequently, and provide three-minute videos to clients using others’ intellectual property. The profits are split. My air raid warnings sounded.

There’s a lot of nonsense going around about technology that guarantees passive sales (I think Lightspeed, for example, is pure hype). It became clear quickly that Sara was quoting from a script. I kept interrupting her. She told me their “sales team” uses my lists and theirs to sell to human resources officers. She claims the typical sale is $5,000 “several times a month” for their top contributors. The contributors’ faces are never shown on the video, but a “very advanced, scientific” set of images, with just the voiceover of the author!

“The authors bored people in our research,” read Sara.

The sell to HR people and learning and development. The average sale is about $50 per person.

I told her such revenues were a fraction of my own passive income, and might cannibalize my other works. But, I said, I don’t know everything, so could she give me some samples to watch and some references I’d know and respect.

Then things got interesting.

She said her authors weren’t interested in making money, but in helping others. I told her that was funny since her pitch was originally about making money and almost every thought leader I know believed it was healthy to make money while helping others. She kept naming people I had never heard of.

Finally, I said, “Do you know that James Carville was my most recent guest at my annual Thought Leadership Conference? That is the kind of person I respect.”

“I’ve never heard of him,” said Sara, “what does he do?” When I explained she said, “Well, I’ve never followed politics.”

And I said, “And apparently, away from that script, you’re not very well read or well informed. That’s all I need to know about you and your company.”

There’s all too much of this crap going on these days, where “technology” is going to play on the egos of people, and large investments (in Lightspeed’s case) or weird approaches (in Avenue’s case) are dangled about in terms of credibility.

Lightspeed has shown me examples of their work, which is little more than talking heads. Avenue won’t even show me their work. But they don’t want much, just my IP and my money.

© Alan Weiss 2015

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